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Sports, friendships a big hit for Blakely Holland

Conway senior dreams of working for MLB one day

Published: May 24, 2024   
Blakely Holland, 17, smiles outside St. Joseph School in Conway May 13. The graduating senior said she’ll miss the friendships she formed throughout her entire education at the Catholic school. (Aprille Hanson Spivey)

CONWAY — Blakely Holland and her fellow seniors at St. Joseph School in Conway recently paid tribute to a favorite childhood memory, piling in the cafeteria as they did in elementary school for a Saturday movie night. 

“We decided to bring back that tradition. We watched ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’” the 17-year-old said. “It was just fun to remember all the fun little traditions we’ve had and be able to spend time with all of my classmates before we graduate.” 

It was one of many senior activities that Holland said was a fitting tribute to her education at St. Joseph, stretching back to preschool.

Throughout high school, Holland participated in several activities, including yearbook along with morning announcements, was a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), St. Joseph Flea Market volunteer, junior class officer and president of the Interact Club, associated with the Rotary Club of Conway. 

“I got to organize a lot of different events and things for the community. So that was fun,” Holland said of Interact Club. 

Her favorite event was the Veteran’s Day program Nov. 11.

 “I would say because of the impact it had on not only the veterans, but the students got to see and recognize they should be thankful for all the service they put in.” 

Besides excelling academically, Holland enjoyed playing varsity volleyball as the libero and second base for softball. 

“I’ve played softball since I was 5 years old, and it’s been a huge part of my life. I enjoy it a lot,” she said, adding her favorite part is interacting with her teammates. “A lot of people focus on the competition aspect of it, but just getting to be with my teammates. To compete, but also to grow friendships.” 

Though she’s more drawn to softball, the past two years she’s received all-conference for volleyball. 

“When you think of volleyball, you mostly think of the hitters being tall girls, and I’m not very tall,” the 5-foot Holland said. “So being able to show you can do it no matter if you’re short or tall, you can do it anyway. I think that was a big.” 

Holland will attend the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and major in marketing to work in sports management. Her dream job would be event planning for Major League Baseball.

“I think the stories behind the athletes and their journeys to get where they are are inspiring,” she said. “... Being an athlete is hard, and it’s important to keep God at the center of your life. Not just the competitive side.” 

From lifelong friendships with classmates and teachers to the lessons she’s learned, Holland said her Catholic education at St. Joseph changed her life “in a big way.” 

“ I don’t know if I would have been able to grow as much in my personality and in my relationship with God if I hadn’t been involved in all these things, instilling in me the values I have,” Holland said. “... No matter what you face in life, hardships or challenges, you’ll have a firm foundation in him.”

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